Canberra at a Glance
Working in Canberra
As the nation’s capital, Canberra is home to big business as well as government and educational establishments. Around 25,000 businesses are based in the city, ranging from large multi-national firms right down to private SMEs.
Canberra is known as a ’20 minute city’ due to its well-planned roads, cycle paths and efficient public transport systems, meaning living and working in Canberra doesn’t equate to a long commute.
Canberra is the seat of Australian government and is home to many federal departments and agencies. By far the largest employer in the region is the government with many residents being public servants. The unemployment rate is lower, and the average income higher than the national averages, meaning that Canberrans have the highest level of disposable income of any Australian state capital.
Due to the concentration of governmental agencies in the city, a number of technology and software companies have established themselves in Canberra to benefit from sales to this sector. These include Tower Software, which produces content and electronic records management, and RuleBurst.
The Australian Defense Force is another large employer, with its headquarters and a number of other military establishments situated in Canberra.
Job Hunting in Canberra
Expats looking for work within the Australian government can use online resources such as Jobs ACT to search and apply. There are other online resources available for those looking for work in Canberra, including Jobseeker and Seek.
Expatriates will need to have their work visas in order before working in Canberra, though. Many expats travel to Australia with sponsorship from an existing employer, who recognizes that the worker has specific skills or experience that they cannot find in an Australian citizen.
Another great way to find work in Canberra is to network. The city is known to be a melting pot of big thinkers and ideas, so it is worthwhile joining networking groups to get to know people when arriving. Researching desirable companies and contacting them directly, as well as using recruitment agencies is a good idea, and job listings are also posted in The Canberra Times.
Income Taxation in Canberra
In Australia, the financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June of the following year. Income tax is paid on personal earnings, business income and capital gains. Tax on personal earnings is on a variable rate and is calculated in brackets as follows:
- $0 - $18,200 is free from income tax
- $18,201 - $37,000 is taxed at 19c for each $1 over $18,200, which equates to 0-9.7%
- $37,001 - $80,000 is taxed at $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000, which equates to 9.7-21.9%
- $80,001 - $180,000 is taxed at $17,547 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000, which equates to 21.9-30.3%
- $180,000 and over is taxed at $54547 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000, which equates to 30.3-44.9%
Australians also pay a Medicare levy of 2% of taxable income to fund the universal health care scheme.
The company tax rate is a flat rate of 30%. When paying corporate income tax, franking credits are generated that can then be applied to dividend payments for shareholders to then use against their own personal income tax.
There are tax breaks and benefits available, for example, the Family Tax Benefit, or FTB, and it’s worth getting information on this from the Australian Tax Office.